AB CryptoBox 752HD Combo Review
AB CryptoBox 752HD Combo is a new combined satellite DVB-S / S2, digital terrestrial DVB-T / T2, and cable DVB-C receiver from AB-COM. The model supports Full HD 1080p resolution and the new H.265 HEVC codec.
With this model, you can view the channels in HD quality and use the additional functions of IPTV, media player and streaming to ANDROID devices. Thanks to the additional DVB-T / T2 tuner, you can watch terrestrial digital television because the T2 signal coding has been canceled in Ukraine at the moment. 752HD Combo is equipped with a slot for CI modules, which will allow purchasing a module in case of future coding of the on-air signal.
AB CryptoBox 752HD Combo receiver is based on the ALI M3529 chipset with a 1GHz processor, which is supplemented with 256 Mbyte DDRIII RAM and 16 MByte Flash Memory. The device offers a simple and intuitive menu, channel switching is carried out quickly. Of course, there are Time Shift and PVR functions, FTP and watching videos on Youtube. Through additional plug-ins, services such as DLNA / UPnP and HbbTV are available.
1x Common Interface
1x Card Reader
1x HDMI port
2x USB 2.0 (1x Front, 1x Rear)
1x LAN 10/100
1x S / PDIF
USB 3G & USB Wi-Fi audio output
Packing The Design
752HD Combo is actually an updated version of the AB Cryptobox 652HD receiver and this is felt even in the packaging box and the main accents of the Slovak manufacturer.
Traditionally, AB Com used a white box with two rows of icons that personify the characteristics and functions of the model. Everything is packaged very conveniently, the package includes only instructions (in 3 languages), remote control and AAA batteries * 2.
The receiver itself has a small size (dimensions 260×188.5×46 mm), the black case, for the most part, is made of metal. On top are dozens of ventilation holes for passive cooling of the filling of the receiver. On the front panel, an informative VFD display is immediately highlighted, which provides the most necessary information. So, in the main area of the display shows the channel number, the type of broadcast, the format of the audio track and other similar information. On the right, you can see the quality scale (Q) and the level (S) of the signal. In standby mode, the current time is displayed.
A status LED is visible to the left of the display, and on the right are three physical buttons (power and channel switching) and a flip panel. The cover of the latter hides the USB connector version 2.0, the built-in card reader and the CI slot for working with pay TV operators.
On the rear panel of the 752HD Combo are all the traditional combo receiver switching ports: ANT for terrestrial TV, loopback LOOP for cable TV, LNB IN for satellite antenna and LOOP OUT for serial connection of a second receiver, USB 2.0 (connection of compatible 3G / Wi-Fi adapters and external drives), RS232 (COM-port service), optical audio output S / PDIF for owners of old DK, LAN (Ethernet 100 Mbit), HDMI 1.4 for modern TVs and SCART for outdated models.
The remote control is made of high-quality plastic and resembles remotes to Sony TVs 6-8 years old. The empty bottom of the console and the “cross” shifted to the top showed good ergonomics for large hands. I was pleased with the functionality of the console, taking into account the price category of the receiver. There are multimedia and specialized buttons.
AB CryptoBox received easy tuning and surpasses its predecessors in a number of indicators. The device still cannot boast of top-end hardware, but there will be enough power reserve for working in the workhorse mode.
Now the ALI M3529 chipset and a more efficient dual-core processor 1 GHz (it was 600 MHz), as well as twice the amount of operational (DDR3) and constant (Flash) memory: 16 and 256 MB, respectively, are used. Another key innovation is the support for the modern H.265 HEVC compression format.
The TV receiver’s TV player is virtually unchanged and, perhaps, now we are talking about a TV signal in HEVC (already relevant for the satellite and for the air). The model is equipped with a combination of tuners that allow you to receive satellite TV and DVB-S / S2 radio in MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.265 compression formats, as well as on-air DVB-T / T2 and DVB-C cable television. Of course, we are talking about both standard (720p) and high resolution (1080i / p). The built-in card reader can work as a local card server.
Cable TV is now relevant only for some large cities, but the presence of a DVB-T2 tuner will especially appeal to customers. After all, at the moment the coding of the on-air DVB-T2 signal in Ukraine has been canceled, and among 32 national channels, there are broadcasting in excellent quality.
The first launch and it becomes clear the potential market for the model – the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The menu and the main functionality of the receiver are identical to those of the 2017 models.
The menu is the most adapted for the mass user, but it’s more likely that it’s not about simplicity, but about ergonomic and reasonable sufficiency. Add to this a decent work speed without lags and get a comfortable feeling at work. It can be seen that the developers have devoted quite a bit of time to the consistency of the entire structure and, as opposed to many potential competitors, you will perform the basic operations as quickly as possible. Some flaws in the structure are still there, but with them, you will not get lost in the sub-items of the menu.
New software updates and dumps with channels and settings appear regularly on the Internet. Directly, the firmware is in automatic mode from a USB drive, and the status of the operation can be seen both on the progress bar and on the VFD display of the device.
The main menu is divided into 5 separate items (Settings, Channel Editor, Settings, X-tras and Multimedia). Inside you expect a convenient hierarchy, but it is worth noting that some sub-items require the input key combinations “for withdrawal from the hidden mode.” Plus, I would like shorter access to the main Internet services, because getting into the menu of the 4th level is tiring.
The whole chain of steps to set up a satellite dish is simple if you have the necessary basic knowledge. Almost immediately available search for a transponder or satellite, as well as a number of other parameters. There are minimal tips, and the presence of a convenient scale for the level and quality of the signal reminds of the visible border between budget receivers and sturdy models from responsible manufacturers.
Conveniently and without unnecessary embellishment, work with channels is organized. There is an editor where you can create your lists, sort them at your discretion. Of course, you can move (separately and in groups), delete or block channels.
First, we checked the receiver in satellite mode. The quality of SD and HD images is high, everything works stably. Very conveniently organized a display of a list of channels and information about a specific channel during viewing. You can see the channel sequence number, its name, image resolution and frame format, satellite name, and other useful information. Special icons help to quickly determine the presence of HD-broadcasting and surround sound, encryption, Teletext.
The receiver offers all the typical functionality for such devices, such as a shift in viewing over time, recording programs to a USB drive, an electronic program guide for 7 days, etc.
Scanning digital terrestrial channels are possible in manual and automatic mode. The second one takes much longer. The image quality of some channels from the Ukrainian T2 package for 32 channels is slightly inferior to the picture from the satellite. Perhaps it is the fault of more aggressive coding or other nuances
We checked the work of cable TV using the example of the Ukrainian operator Volya in one of the premium packages. The organization of the menu as a whole is identical to the two other connection options and everything works without problems. AB CryptoBox’s EPG receiver is a little inferior in usability to “brand-name” solutions from Will, but this will not cause any problems.
A powerful processor made it possible to improve the already quite good multimedia functions of the AB CryptoBox model line. Support for the H.265 HEVC codec is useful for viewing content from a USB drive.
We checked the media player in the receiver on a selection of materials from the Network (over a dozen different MKV rips, remux and a number of test clips). The 752HD Combo is far from the power of VU + or Dreambox devices, but in omnivorous mass content, it is almost as good as the expensive models. In fact, it is possible to watch 80% of HD content (all but Blu-ray with the maximum bitrate) and the weakest of 4K Ultra HD (rips with a low bit rate of 20-40 Mbit). It is necessary by the way and decoding Dolby Digital.
To connect the receiver to a local network, you can use a wired connection, a Wi-Fi USB adapter (as always, the number of models is limited by the chip used) or a 3G modem. In the 752HD Combo, the network is needed not only for the sake of the Internet, because there is support for the DLNA player (DNLA DMP) and the ability to view the video, audio, and photos. It is enough to configure a built-in solution on a Windows PC or install a solution on the local network like TwonkyMedia. Not be redundant and backup over the network.
Traditionally, in the receiver’s menu, you will find the Games item, but even a modern processor will not make this device a normal gaming entertainment center. Indulge for an hour and forget about the existence of the section.
At the very least, the 752HD Combo also works on Youtube, although you cannot call it convenient work. Also, the Dailymotion service, which is not very popular with us, is preinstalled, there is a weather informer. Not forgotten, and Google Maps, RSS and the like.
Additional plug-ins are of interest to HbbTV, a web browser, the use of online IPTV resources. Well, the cherry on the cake in the list of the model’s functionality was the management of the receiver from a smartphone using the Android application G-MScreen. A similar solution is offered for iOS – the Blackbox Live program. The most important function is the organization of streaming broadcasts from the receiver to the telephone. There are recording and timer management, support for various operations with channels like moving and creating favorites lists.
Note that the usability of the menu and structure in the secondary sections are identical to the sections on working with TV. And this leads to inconvenience because for the media player or Youtube the laconic style is no longer so good.
- High-quality assembly, informative display;
- Powerful technical stuffing (according to the price list);
- Good image quality on HD and SD channels;
- Stability in work;
- Functional media player and additional services.
- A minor inconvenience in the menu and during work.
Of course, AB CryptoBox 752HD Combo will not be bought by those who need only a satellite signal because there are better offers for this price. But it is in the role of a combi receiver that this device shows itself perfectly. For example, in the process of testing, we tested such a usage model as DVB-T2 and DVB-C urban reception, and DVB-S2 and DVB-T2 for departure to the cottage. We are confident that the buyers of the model will appreciate not only the reception and recording of TV programs but also the built-in media player, work with Android devices and other additional features.
What do we have in the end? Strict design for any interior, good technical stuffing, and stability in operation. The very good receiver from the European brand for an adequate price!